Christ wants to see us reconciled rather than living as enemies, Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass on Tuesday, explaining that a true Christian lives with this hope. “We all know that when we are not in peace with others, there is a wall. There is a wall that divides us. But Jesus offers us his service to break down this wall so we can meet,” the Roman Pontiff told those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha residence chapel for his Oct. 21 Mass. The Pope centered his reflections on the day’s readings, taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and the Gospel of Luke. Quoting from the Gospel passage, the Roman Pontiff said, “blessed are the servants who await their master’s return from a wedding with lighted lamps.” In the biblical scene following the day’s passage, Christ speaks of how the disciples should prepare for his return like servants who, knowing the will of their master, await his arrival by keeping alert and putting everything in order. He linked the passage to the day’s first reading, in which St. Paul describes how even those who are far off have an identity in the body of Christ, who restored peace by destroying “walls of enmity” with his death on the cross. What Christ seeks to do is first of all to give his people an identity, the Roman Pontiff explained, drawing attention to how St. Paul tells the pagans that without Christ, they were alienated from people of Israel. Because of the citizenship and belonging we have received from the Lord, we have gone from being enemies with no peace, to being one through the blood of Christ, who breaks down walls of division, he continued. “If we are divided, we are not friends: we are enemies. And he has reconciled us all in God. He has reconciled us as friends, as enemies, as strangers, as sons and daughters.” What God has done through his coming, the Bishop of Rome observed, is transform individuals into a common people, who are all members of the house of God. However, the Lord has one condition in order to be a part of this community: “they are to await him, like servants awaiting their master.” “He who does not await Jesus, who closes his door to Jesus, does not allow him to go forward with his work of peace, of community, of citizenship,” the Pope noted, saying that this attitude of waiting is part of what constitutes Christian hope. The Roman Pontiff explained how a true Christian is a man or woman who has this hope and knows that the Lord will come. However, when he comes, Christ will not come in search of enemies, but of friends living in the peace he left. Pope Francis concluded by asking those present if they themselves believe in the return of Christ, asking, “Do I have faith in this hope that he will come? Is my heart open to hear him knocking on the door, to hear him entering the door?” Unlike the “selfish pagans” who forget about Christ and think only of themselves, a Christian is someone who knows how to wait, the Pope repeated, warning attendees not to have the “I make do on my own” attitude of the pagans. A person who has that mentality, he said, “does not end up well; he ends up without a name, without closeness, without citizenship.”
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